One reason. No regrets

Whenever I ask anyone why they made a certain decision or why they arrived at a certain conclusion, e.g. why they quit their job, why they broke up with their boyfriend or girlfriend, they will usually come up with a string of reasons. Very often, none of the reasons sound convincing at all. In fact, I get the idea that they are trying to convince themselves that they are right. It is not uncommon for people to fail to understand their own reasons for doing what they do!

Perhaps it's our education and training. We are graded according to how many reasons we can come up with. Even if the requirement for a list is not explicitly stated, anything less than 3 reasons is hardly acceptable and people who come up with only one reason are thought to be lazy or uncreative.

One recommended method that people use in decision-making is to list down all the pros and cons we can think of. I think this method has its merits. However, I would suggest going one extra step beyond that: to identify the one thing that would make or break it. It must be a very good reason. A string of 100 weak reasons is useless. I find that if I can come up with the one reason, then whenever I have any thoughts of regret, I think of that one reason and I stop regretting.


David said...


Your suggestion, I would suggest going one extra step beyond that: to identify the one thing that would make or break it."

Is worth considering. However rarely is there one overwhelming deal breaker of a reason. To overcome numerous pros & cons one can used a weight matrix to give proper value to the truly important reasons to go ahead with a decision.

Another approach is to consider best case and worse case scenarios for important decisions. What is the worse case if a no go decision is made, versus what it the best case result.

Entire curriculum's can be taught on this topic.

Good post!


Anonymous said...

It's easier to be said than done. It sounds like THE ONE reason, but to come up with that ONLY ONE, you might need to consider thousands of the weak reason, then only you can have that conclusion.

The simplest solution is always the hardest among all, to find.

Hm, furthermore, to choose between continuing further studies or to start working, getting married and settle down, how many weak reasons we need to go through before reaching ur ultimate THE ONE reason?


Yu-Kym said...

David, I think people are not used to coming up with the One reason. That's why many have regrets. Perhaps they have not thought deeply enough to come up with the One reason. They think quantity is more important than quality. If people think hard enough, they can come up with that single big reason. E.g. You bring a child to a toy shop, the child would want to buy many things. If you say you will only buy 1 toy, the child will be able to pick just 1.

Patrick, agree that the simplest solution is the hardest to find. For big decisions, I can think about it for 1 year or more before finding that one reason.

Rock Hard said...

Why am I reading this blog?
One reason.
Am bore.